For many years it seemed The Stone Roses were consigned to the pages of Rock history, as Ian Brown and John Squire both repeatedly dismissed any notions of reforming the iconic band. In 2009 Squire, who had spent the previous five years concentrating his energies into art, even went as far superimposing a message over one of his own works in response to rumours of a comeback tour. It read “I Have No Desire Whatsoever To Desecrate The Grave Of Seminal Manchester Band The Stone Roses”.
Late last year the band delighted fans with a momentous u-turn, calling a press conference to announce two huge comeback shows at Manchester’s Heaton Park. Those present saw straight away that the quartet’s chemistry was fully intact, with jokes being cracked before they’d even sat down. When asked about what had changed since the aforementioned artwork, Squire replied “Everything changed when me and Ian started seeing each other again. We went from laughing about the old days to writing songs in a heartbeat. In a way, it’s a friendship that defines us both… and it needed fixing. Two phone calls later and the band was no longer dead.”
Last month, with three Heaton Park shows sold out and looming large on the horizon, excitement levels rose even further when a free concert at Warrington’s Parr Hall was hastily arranged. Fans were asked to bring an item of Roses memorabilia, the first thousand receiving a wristband for what many considered a life affirming event – the first Stone Roses concert in 16 years. The set list was aimed squarely at the hardcore, the emphasis placed firmly on their classic debut album. Subsequent singles ‘Fools Gold’ and ‘I Am The Resurrection’ were notable in their absence, but presumably they’ll reappear at the end of June when the band return to Manchester.
Director Shane Meadows has been on hand throughout the reformation, the band charging him with documentary duties. A life-long fan, Meadows first met Ian Brown at a Banksy exhibition in Bristol and has kept in touch since, even inviting the singer to appear as a policeman in his award winning series ‘This Is England ’86′. He jumped at the chance to make the documentary every Stone Roses fan wants to see, and has set about the task with trademark rigour. His commitment to the cause is mirrored by that of the band, as Meadows himself pointed out in an interview in December. “I saw them rehearsing one verse of Bye Bye Badman for an hour yesterday,” he told one journalist “I looked at that and thought ‘They are taking this ******* seriously!”